Do you remember when you were a kid and the worst thing that could happen was getting sent to bed early? Nowadays, an early bedtime sounds like some sort of heaven on earth. We totally understand that making eight hours happen every night can be tough, but we want to let you know exactly why sleep is so gosh darn important.
Here are our four reasons you need to get more sleep:
1. Improve your memory
While it might seem like a snooze is restful, in fact, your mind is quite busy! While you’re catching Z’s, your brain is going through a process called consolidation where it virtually practises skills you use when you’re awake. How cool it that?!
As well as ‘practising’, your mind also needs sleep to help with strengthening your memory. Countless studies have proved that those who get more sleep show significantly higher scores on memory tests.
2. Boost your immune system
A lack of sleep can suppress your immune system, leaving you exposed to infections and viruses. A study of 150 plus healthy adults, found that with those who had more than seven hours sleep were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept less than seven.
Research shows that people who are getting less than six hours of sleep a night show increased levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood than those who get more sleep. As we’ve discussed previously on the Chef Good blog, inflammation is something that is linked to health issues like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma and premature ageing.
3. Maintaining a healthy weight
Much research has been done looking into the connection between sleep and weight gain. While the picture is becoming clearer, there is still much work to be done in this area.
One thing highlighted already is a link between insufficient sleep and changes in the hormone which controls appetite and the one that lets us know when we’re full. The result of these changes means that people getting less sleep appear to feel more hungry and consume more than those who get adequate sleep. Studies have also shown that sleepy people will react differently to unhealthy foods, showing less resistance to eating them than their well-rested counterparts.
Lastly, a lack of sleep has an effect on our metabolic rate and the production of insulin in our bodies.
4. Concentrate properly
We think it’s safe to say you probably already feel the link between a good night’s rest and your ability to concentrate, yes?
And you would be correct. A 2007 review of existing sleep deprivation literature supports the adverse effect of both acute total and chronic partial sleep deprivation on attention and working memory.
It’s not just adults who are affected by a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation can result in ADHD-like symptoms in children. A study found that children who got less than eight hours of sleep a night were more at risk for ADHD symptoms such as hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsiveness.
Getting a better night’s sleep
Now you know why you need to be getting adequate sleep, but how do you do it? We’ve collected a few tips you can put into action tonight to get a good rest between the sheets.
- Turn off your computer, TV and phone well before bedtime. Bonus points if you don’t have devices in your bedroom!
- Start a nighttime routine to let your body know it’s time to go to sleep. You can include things like:
- a lavender scented bath,
- using an essential oil diffuser with calming blends,
- reading a chapter of a book, and
- dimming your lights an hour before bed.
- Use an app or Bedtime reminder mode on your iPhone. This will let you know when you need to get to bed to get your required amount of sleep.
- Stop pressing snooze when your alarm goes off in the morning. Drifting in and out of sleep will leave you feeling more lethargic.